Wednesday, February 02, 2011
So, in case you haven’t noticed, there is a link to a FREE food diary/tracking web site on my blog. The name of the site is Sparkpeople. (I know the name is funny; it has to do with spreading the “spark”.) It is so much more than just food tracking but that is the part I use the most. There is a whole health community available there.
PS: I'm not getting anything for telling you about this, I just find it to be a helpful tool that I use as a "real" woman trying to stay on track with my health.
Anyway, I thought I’d use today’s entry to talk about why I choose to “track” the foods that I eat on a daily basis. (Ok – it’s really more like on a “some of the days” basis)
****Sorry*** images did not come through when I copied from my blog. . . Go to this link to read (and see) more!
It was not until I started tracking that I was finally able to get a good grasp of the nutritional value of the foods I was putting into my body. I’m not just talking about calories. I’m talking about sodium, fiber, protein and basically any other nutrient you're curious about.
I’ve been using this site since approximately 2008. Since then I feel I have gained a wealth of information and experience when it comes to food. Sometimes I joke and say that I’ve earned a “minor” in nutrition just from using Sparkpeople! (Mind you, there are several other food diary/tracking sites/applications out there, this is just the one that I am most familiar with)
When I track I am able to ensure that I eat a well rounded diet that includes at least 8 fruits/vegetables in a day. I can also ensure that I create the right portion sizes. Protein and fiber are two other areas of nutrition that I like to track. Being a vegetarian, I feel it is especially helpful to track so that I can get the nutrition I need! (And yes, I tracked and ate vegetarian during my pregnancy with Andrew. As you can see, he turned out just fine!)
View blog for photos!
Through tracking, I am also able to ensure that I get the right amount of calories in a day. Tracking gives me FREEDOM to eat what I want while I’m armed with the information and tools I need to balance it out later. There has been a TON of research to support the notion of calories “in”, calories “out” when it comes to weight loss and maintaining weight. I have found this to be especially true for how my body works. . .
There are many people who don’t track and that seems to work for them - but I find that when I don’t track, even when I choose the “right” foods, I tend to go overboard and eat too much. . .I just like to eat – a LOT. Tracking has been an eye opening experience for me!
Even if you don’t plan to track long term, I suggest you give it a try even for a month just to get a grasp on what you’re putting into your body. Are you drinking enough water in a day? Eating enough fruits and vegetables, fiber what about your sodium intake?
Check it out!
You might be surprised by what you find.